The US defense department has awarded Bell Textron a $272.2 million contract for the production and delivery of eight UH-1Y Venom and four AH-1Z Viper helicopters to the Czech Republic.
According to the announcement, work under the contract is expected to be completed by November 2023.
The contract award follows the signing of a letter of acceptance for the foreign military sale between Czech defense minister Lubomir Metnar and his US counterpart Mark Esper in December 2019.
As noted by the Czech defense ministry at the time, local industry involvement in the procurement will amount to 30 percent.
The new helicopters are replacing the Czech Air Forces’ Mi-24 attack helicopters that will be retired in 2025.
The H-1 mixed fleet shares 85-percent commonality between parts, reducing the logistics, maintenance, and training costs of the AH-1Z and UY-1Y helicopters while offering a combination of integrated weapons systems to counter ground, air, and maritime targets effectively, Bell said in a release. Additionally, the AH-1Z is the only helicopter in production equipped with the AIM-9 Sidewinder.
“This mix allows the Czech Republic to accomplish a diverse mission set, from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to close air support and air-to-air warfare,” said Joel Best, Bell’s director of military sales and strategy, Europe.